Three Baby Skunks and a Birthday Party

I smelled it as soon as I walked through the front door. That one-of-a-kind-forget-me-not smell. That worse than the worse ever smell that fumigates your car nearly chokes you to death and lingers for miles and miles down the road. So, yeah. I knew there was a skunk in the house.

Like a bloodhound, I searched for the culprit. And there, sitting on the couch giggling like two mischievous imps were my brothers playing with, not one but three, bushy-tailed baby skunks.

I like wild animals; even wanted a raccoon once. But never a skunk! But they were so cute. So, after much whining and pleading my parents said we could keep them for a little while in a box outside.

Oh, the plans that we made for our baby critters. We’d name them and care for them and show them to our friends. We’d be the envy of the neighborhood. The talk of the town. The kids with the baby skunks.

The next day, however, the charm of owning a skunk soon wore off. So I decided to give mine to my best friend, Florence who was older and more experienced at caring for animals. After all, she took in every stray dog in the neighborhood. And besides, it was her birthday.

But, for some odd reason, Florence wasn’t as thrilled about receiving the cute little guy as I was giving it to her. And her mother was even less thrilled. I could tell by the way the house shook and the windows rattled when she yelled, “Get that thing out of my house!”

Mrs. Morgenstern served four years in the Waves, had tattoos on both of her muscular arms, and was as intimidating as a Grizzly Bear. Not even the Godfather would have had the guts to question her authority.

“I just wanted to give it to Florence for her birthday,” I whimpered. “Besides, he doesn’t have a stink bag yet.”

“GET THAT THING OUT OF MY HOUSE!”

She must have scared the little guy cause on the way home, he bit me.

Then he bit me again.

And again.

This time, he wasn’t fooling. I jerked my hand away and landing safely on all fours he raised his bushy tail and fired!

Suddenly, like a mud-wallowing pig, I was saturated from head to toe with an indescribable, eye-watering, breathtaking stench of awful that I never want to smell up close again!

A normal kid would have left it there.

But I wasn’t a normal kid.

Covering my mouth and nose with one hand and grabbing the back of the skunk’s neck with the other, I ran home. No, I flew home!

Confused and nearly blinded by the ghastly fumes, I staggered into the kitchen where my dad sat eating a bowl of cereal.

He was a Clint Eastwood kinda guy; fearless, quiet and reserved. Even now, standing before him, feeling like an idiot smelling worse than a cesspool with a baby skunk dangling from my hand, he never flinched. Barely batted an eye. Motionless as a corpse. And as if he needed the slightest explanation, I whimpered, “He sprayed me, daddy.”

Calmly, he took a bite of cereal and said, “You need to take it outside.”

Mom stripped me down and nearly threw me into the tub of hot, soapy water where I scrubbed and sniffed till my skin was blood-red and my nose was burning. But like a tick on a dog, the stink had latched on and was there to stay for who knows how long.

That evening I went to Florence’s birthday party.

Everyone kept their distance but was nice enough not to tell me I stunk like a skunk.

I was back in Mrs. Morgenstern’s graces and never took another skunk to her house again.

My brothers and I set the skunks free.

And if someone ever tells you baby skunks don’t have a stink bag . . . don’t believe it!

~ Sandi

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Butterfly

Digital Designs by Sandi Staton

Digital Designs by Sandi Staton

Butterfly Story . . . our struggles make us stronger!

“A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly!”

–Author Unknown

Raccoons

Digital Designs by Sandi Staton

Digital Designs by Sandi Staton

Raccoons are solitary mammals. They eat at night and sleep in their dens during the day.

Just like my husband. I don’t think they’re much into watching sports, though.

Raccoons have excellent hearing and vision.

Just like me, except for the vision thing. I’m half blind in one eye and can’t see much out of the other one. But I can see enough. More than I want to see sometimes.

Raccoons are extremely alert.

Unlike my husband and me. We’re kinda slow on the trigger sometimes . . . well, most of the time. But, we’re old, what do you expect?

Raccoons have five-fingered forepaws and can easily manipulate and open things.

We need a raccoon in the house. My husband and I can barely open a jar of pickles. But my husband wouldn’t open a jar of pickles anyway. He hates pickles! But I like them.

Raccoons are strong swimmers.

I can doggie paddle. My husband can float. Wouldn’t be good for either of us to  jump overboard and race each other back to shore.

Raccoons are great climbers and not afraid of dropping 40 feet.

I get dizzy climbing the first step of a ladder. I’d die of a heart attack if I fell off it!

So there you have a few Raccoon facts, plus a few old people facts just for fun. Hey! We’ll all get there one day if we live long enough!

Sandi Staton

Born Free!

Digital Designs by Sandi Staton

Digital Designs by Sandi Staton

I’ve said it before, “I’m a nature freak.” I love the sound of the wind, the chirping of a bird, the chatter of a squirrel. I love the sunshine, the rain, a thunderstorm. But what I love the most is the freedom it represents.

Nature doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. It doesn’t try to conform to the wishes of others. It doesn’t kill itself climbing the dilapidated ladder of success. It is what it is.

That’s how I thrive to be; free as a bird, strong as a tree, beautiful as a wildflower . . . what you see is what you get.